Tips to Avoid Burnout Based on Your Personality

By Elena Kazakevich, LCSW, MBA

In some ways, life has slowed down these past few months. Most of us have stopped the hustle and bustle of commutes to the office, nights out at restaurants, and rushing our kids to school and activities. But in other ways, because the normal boundaries we’re used to have disappeared, it may feel like things are moving faster than ever before.

For many of us, virtual meetings have become embedded into our daily routines. We’re constantly on work video calls without little breaks such as taking a walk to a different conference room. At the same time, we’re homeschooling our kids and/or trying to get them to focus on a video lecture. This is all happening while virtually staying connected with our loved ones and surviving a pandemic. With so much going on, it’s no wonder that many of us are starting to feel a little (or a lot) burned out.

Burnout is physical or emotional exhaustion, usually caused by prolonged stress or frustration. When we think we’re getting close to burnout, it’s time to pay attention to our feelings and overall well-being. Small adjustments to your daily routine can make big differences to your mental health, energy levels and overall outlook on life.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to avoiding burnout, and advice that works for some people may not work as well for you. That’s why I’ve put together some suggestions for different personality types. If any of these seem like a good fit for you, try incorporating them into your life over the next several weeks.

If you’re someone who needs more solitude, time to process, and a slower pace…

Things might be more difficult if you’re living with other people. It’s important for you to carve out time in the day to be alone. Start by slowing down your morning — jot down your dreams or meditate. As for work, begin the day with projects you work on by yourself and schedule meetings for later in the day. Our energy usually naturally declines after 3 p.m., and this would be a great time to take a walk outside. If you’re having family time with your kids, try different activities like story time or working on an art project together. In the evening, do your best to completely disconnect from work and relax with a warm bath, stretching or reading a novel.

If you love staying busy and are always on the go…

You might be going a little stir-crazy being cooped up at home right now. Try to create a schedule and plan out plenty of activities. It can feel good to wake up early and exercise — the higher intensity, the better. Make a list of everything you need to do for the day, including your work tasks, what you need at the grocery store and family activities. You may tend to over-do it at work, so make sure you set a time to be offline and stick to it. You may enjoy using your free time to learn something new, do home improvement projects or complete a puzzle with your kids.

If you can’t live without fun, excitement, and human connection…

You might be feeling bored and down because every day likely seems the same. It’s important for you to mix things up and change your routine. Try starting the day by making a new breakfast dish. It could also be fun to involve your kids and come up with some creative recipes together. At work, you can begin virtual meetings with some friendly banter or jokes. Your coworkers will appreciate that you are lightening the mood. Add an extra meeting on the calendar just to play games with your coworkers or have a happy hour. You may want to have a few different projects to work on throughout the day to keep yourself engaged. In the evenings take a virtual dance class or unwind by watching a funny movie with your family.

If you’re a natural caregiver who loves helping others…

You may be stretching yourself too thin right now trying to be everything for everybody and really missing your friends and extended family. Try beginning each day with a warm, nourishing breakfast before 9 a.m. Starting off the morning with food in your stomach will help you maintain steady energy throughout the day and keep any thoughts and worries in check. Have check-ins with your coworkers and ask how they’re doing. See if there are any projects you can help each other with. It will be important for you to make quality time for friends and family each day. Whether that’s walking together outside, having a family meal or simply making a phone call, you’ll likely feel better when you’re nurturing your relationships. Finally, don’t forget to take time for yourself when you need a break.

If you’re a highly sensitive person who just needs space…

You may enjoy some aspects of social distancing and working from home, but you’re likely more affected by technology overload and taking on the stress of those around you. You may do well with a predictable routine. Try waking up and going to bed on a schedule. Begin and end your workday at set times as well. The more you can disconnect from technology, the better you’re likely to feel. Try not to feel pressured to be on video for each call, since this might be more stressful for you than a phone call. Find some time each day to turn off your notifications and take a walk outside without your phone. You might be feeling heavy-hearted from stress and events in the world right now. A nice way to process these feelings can be journaling, listing the things you are grateful for and appreciating at least one beautiful thing each day.

Regardless of how you choose to take care of yourself, try to make it a priority, You can only be there for others when you truly show up for yourself. If you need additional support, coping strategies or simply someone to talk to, visit with a therapist using LiveHealth Online. Stay safe and be well.

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